State and Statute: Alaska, Stats. §§ 47.17.010 et seq.
What Is Reportable “Abuse”: Physical injury or neglect, sexual or mental abuse, sexual exploitation, or maltreatment. [47.17.010]
Mandatory Reporters: Includes school teachers and administrative staff of public and private schools and “child care providers” who provide child care for compensation, who in the performance of their occupational duties have reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been abused. Also includes volunteers of public or private schools who interact with children for more than four hours a week.
“This section does not require a religious healing practitioner to report as neglect of a child the failure to provide medical attention to the child if the child is provided treatment solely by spiritual means through prayer in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized church or religious denomination by an accredited practitioner of the church or denomination.”
“A person required to report child abuse or neglect who makes the report to the person’s job supervisor or to another individual working for the entity that employs the person is not relieved of the obligation to make the report to the department as required under (a) of this section.” [47.17.020(a)(d)(g)]
How and Where to Report: To nearest office of the Department of Health and Social Services or, if immediately unreachable, a peace officer. [47.17.020(a)(c)]
Timeline to Report: Immediately, meaning as soon as reasonably possible and no later than 24 hours. [47.17.290(7)]
Clergy Privilege: “Evidence not privileged”: “Neither the physician-patient nor the husband-wife privilege is a ground for excluding evidence regarding a child’s harm, or its cause, in a judicial proceeding related to a report made under this chapter.” [47.17.060] and [47.17.290(6)]
Penalty for Knowingly Failing to Report: Class A misdemeanor. [47.17.068]
Civil Liability for Failure to Report Recognized? No statute recognizes civil liability. Consult with legal counsel to ensure no recent court decisions in Alaska have recognized civil liability.
Immunity for Inaccurate Report: “A person who, in good faith, makes a report under this chapter … is immune from civil or criminal liability that might otherwise be incurred or imposed for making the report … except that a person who knowingly makes an untimely report is not immune from civil or criminal liability based on the delay in making the report.” [47.17.050]
Disclosure of Mandatory Reporter’s Identity: Investigation reports and reports are confidential and not subject to public inspection and copying. [47.17.040(b)]
Additional Information for Alaska:
- Phone information (toll-free): 1-800-478-4444
- Online resources: http://dhss.alaska.gov/ocs/Pages/childrensjustice/mandatoryreporting.aspx
All information provided here was most recently verified in March of 2023.